“Hearts of gold”

The story of two sisters from Lugansk living on their own has touched many. My friend went to buy them winter boots, a neighbor regularly send them money. One reader offered to fully pay for the older sister’s university education. In the sense that, if she’s admitted to one, to cover her expenses so that she wouldn’t need to work but only study. An Australian named Denis who doesn’t know the Russian language almost regularly helps them financially. He reads my blog through Google Translate(!). Our Boris from Kazan bought them a water heater to ensure they have hot water. We’ve all collected money to cover their utility debts from the past several years, including for the period they didn’t live at that address. Her mother lived there and amassed such debt that there always existed a threat of water and power cut-off.
I don’t know how I would have acted in their place. I’ve met few people in my life like them.
Alyona and Marina are one of a kind.

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Rodion in Rostov!


You’re going to drop dead right now! And you won’t believe it. You’ll say Hirosimka has taken to drinking.
The power of networks continues to amaze yet again! The power of repost (don’t forget about that, by the way!) in action.
There’s a kid in Lugansk named Rodion. He’s two and a half. A little dynamo. It so happened that he was born deaf. We were able to organize a free surgery for him to install a cochlear implant in Moscow. Lugansk lacks proper equipment and specialists for something like that. Doctors would say it would take a miracle. That miracle was Irina Bednova who helped organize everything for free in the capital. And that’s a lot of money, believe me.
So in April the boy was taken to Moscow. The operation took place, everything was successful. In May he was brought back for the first tuning. That already had to be paid for. Thanks to you and your aid, we were able to pay for the specialists, Anya (the mom) and Rodion’s stay in Moscow, and bought tickets there and back.
I wrote about all that in detail earlier.
Painstakingly retold the tuning procedure, what the specialists had to say.
And then suddenly I get a letter.

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Helping the Infant Pathology Ward

Here it is, the power of networks!
So I write a post in mid-May. Folks, we need a printer for Infant Pathology! And inhalators, syringes, mixtures, diapers. All of that is badly needed!
And I instantly get a response.
There is a printer. Brand new, still in the unopened box. In Karelia.
It means Natalya is writing me.
So I write back, clarify. While I do that, the printer arrives in Moscow. Our Sasha met it there and sent to Lugansk. Even as I was writing her, she surprised me by writing that it was already sent off. Wow.
I’m again running back and forth. And now Zhenya is sending me photos from Lugansk showing a happy ward director with the printer.
Oh, so it was already delivered. Then the director called in a shock–“there’s also a scanner? a new one?”. Well, not really new, it’s about 10 years old, but never even unpacked.
Our friends arrived not only with the printer but also everything else they were asking for.
The workers there were speechless.
And I’m running back and forth.
You responded so quickly and smoothly, friends. I don’t even know what to say!!!
Fine, I’m also awesome)


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Already can hear!

This tiny apparatus on Rodion’s little ears costs over 700 thousand rubles.
Thanks to this miracle of technology, he can now hear.
–He can already hear?
–Yes, he hears, already hears. But doesn’t understand what.
Rodion had a complicated cochlear implant surgery in April. It’s a miracle which only a few decades ago was impossible.
The boy was born in Lugansk, born deaf. It took a long time to issue the diagnosis. The situation in the region is difficult–isolation, war. What’s there to explain…
No equipment, no specialists who could help the boy. The family did not have the money for the apparatus or surgery.
Thanks to Irina Bednova, we were able to take the boy to Moscow for a free surgery!

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A beautiful girl, right? Look more closely, at that oval face, nose, chin.
That face hides more than any girl should experience.
Every day three tons of cosmetics. Dozens of surgeries, including plastic.
But it’s not liposuction, not thousands of “beautification” procedures when people try to achieve what they never had or dreamed to achieve their whole life.
Darina is 18. She lives in Lugansk.
Five years ago, while a cute teenager who was blossoming and only began to understand what life is, she came under shellfire. It was the summer of 2014, when the city experienced hell on earth.
Shrapnel wounds to both legs and temple area of face. The shrapnel went right through, so that part of her face hung “like a rag”.

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Infant Pathology Ward

One of the Lugansk maternity wards also has an infant pathology ward. It treats premature babies and infants with serious illnesses. Sometimes it also takes case of abandoned infants until they are sent to an orphanage.
Kiryukha was there once, remember?
The ward receives ordinary humanitarian aid–standard baby food, diapers, though sometimes it’s at the end of the list–whatever’s left over. It means that sometimes it gets really large diapers, too large for a premature infant. Such are the times: war.
As I wrote above, the ward receives unusual children, often with major illnesses. Sometimes they are abandoned by their parents because they have no way of helping the babies. That’s how we started helping the ward, after they requested a special formula for Kirill. None of what they had was suitable. Zhenya and Lena barely found it in Lugansk, after visiting every store and warehouse.
And now they called us again.
Recently the ward received a seriously ill girl. Or, rather, an illness she got because of her mother. She needs antibiotics which are not available in LPR. Couldn’t find them in Russia, either. We had to get them through Ukraine.
I won’t describe how exactly we obtained them–it was a rather complex task, considering what you know about that war.
And of course we also brought diapers, formula, which are always in short supply there.

Sonya before the operation

Lovely little Sonya with mom.
A Donbass child, born in war. A child who doesn’t know anything else but war.
An entire generation is growing up which doesn’t know or remember peace. They don’t know what it means to live without having to look and listen into the night-time silence. Don’t know it’s possible to take walks under the stars–the Republics are under curfew.
Sonya was born in ’16 with her twin Masha in a normal family with mom, dad, and older brother Vladik. But the family lives in LPR where it’s hard for everyone, not to mention the young. Then the family suffered a tragedy.
Now Sonya is in the regional children’s hospital in Lugansk with first degree hydronephrosis.
She recently had a 3-hour surgery. Had a stent inserted, which you helped the family find and buy.

After the Operation

On April 24th, Rodion and his mom were sent back home to Lugansk.
While we drove them to the bus station, I read about the issuing of Russian passports to L/DPR citizens. I whistled and couldn’t believe my eyes.
Anya, it seems, didn’t understand what I was referring to.
She had a very hard week, she did not sleep at all and did not leave her son.
But Rodion was full of energy and wanted to explore every corner of the bus station.
The operation was successful, the implant was implanted.
He was operated on by one of Russia’s top specialists.
And I want to say, in Anya’s name, in my name, and in the name of our entire team, that we are enormously grateful to Irina Bednova! It is thanks to her this miracle had happened.
Anya, it seems, is still in disbelief.

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Rodion is in Moscow!

Rodion arrived in Moscow from Lugansk on April 15 in order to undergo a very complex and expensive operation–a cochlear implant.
Rodion is 2.5 years old and was born deaf. This is a costly procedure which entails implanting a hearing device. The sooner it’s done, the more likely the implant is to be accepted, and the boy regaining his hearing.
Thanks to our Irina Bednova, the boy will have this operation for free.
Unfortunately, for objective reasons, we were not able to admit him yesterday. Not all the analyses and mother’s information came in. We had to pay for some additional tests instead.

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“Where are we to run to?”

Ira was pregnant when Lugansk was being wiped out. She is from the long-suffering Vergunka which is still on the “separation” line. When she realized she can’t stay home, she took her daughter and went to Lugansk to “wait it out”. There was no place else to go.
It was too late to leave the region, the husband was nowhere to be seen–and still isn’t.
Ira says that she wrote to her daughter a couple of times through social media. That’s all.
Indeed, why bother? He’s got a new life, without children and destroyed homes, where fighting can start again at any moment.
Ira then went to Lugansk, and when she returned the home half-destroyed. The roof and walls collapsed, all windows were broken. The house itself was thoroughly looted, down to forks and rugs. .
Please forgive me this preamble–I wrote about this woman many times. But maybe she was forgotten, and others have not read about her. So one has to periodically remind. We met Ira by accident–we were bringing aid to the neighbors.
Since the we’ve been helping her too, though Ira herself never calls to say what her problems are. Thanks to you, we’ve managed to fix up the house, get a boiler, buy clothes, dishes, food, medications.
Ira’s situation remains hard–she’s alone with the children. Many health problems.
And most importantly, they are still shooting there. Their house is on the very edge of Ukrainian advance. No cellar.
Do you know what Vika, her daughter, said after one of the bombardments?
“Mom, relax. Where are we to run to? What happens, happens.”